Like mowing your lawn in the summer, clearing snow from your property over the winter is one of those chores you can’t avoid if you live in a snowy climate. It’s inevitable.
For many of us, that means shoveling snow, which can be quite a grueling task. However, there are a few steps you can take to make shoveling snow a bit easier. For that, you’ve come to the right place.
Before we get into the ways you can make snow shoveling less grueling, there’s one ultimate snow clearing hack that’s not on our list, and that’s buying a snow blower.
Whether you only experience a few light snowfalls every year or you’re constantly digging yourself out after snowstorms, there’s a snow blower out there that fits your needs. It’ll save you time, energy and get the job done more efficiently than your trusty shovel ever could.
If you’re not sure what kind of snow blower is right for you, use this buying guide from Cub Cadet to learn everything you need to know: https://www.cubcadet.ca/en/knowledge-the-ultimate-snow-blower-buying-maintenance-guide.html
For all you snow shoveling enthusiasts out there, here are seven ways you can make it easier:
1. Get the right equipment
As the age-old saying goes: a snow shoveler is only as good as their tools. That’s why you need a shovel that’s going to make your life easier.
It’s time to say farewell to the rusted piece of metal that’s been passed down in your family for generations and buy yourself a shovel that’s not only built to help you get the job done faster but will also ease the strain shoveling puts on your body. New shovels are lightweight, easy to handle and can be purchased with a bent handle to help take some of the stress off your back.
Your perfect snow shovel is out there—you just need to find it.
2. Devise your strategy
Sure, this isn’t the Battle of Waterloo, but coming up with a plan for the most efficient way to clear the snow out of your driveway will earn you a decisive victory this winter.
Your best strategy will depend a lot on how much snow has fallen and the size of the driveway you need to clear, but we recommend starting by shoveling a line down the center of your driveway and pushing the snow on each half to the side. You can save yourself even more time by making an effort to avoid stepping on the snow you’re clearing and cleaning off your vehicles before you start to shovel.
3. Dress for success
Nothing gets in the way of a well-prepared shoveling plan more than being underdressed. Your ears get cold, your fingers turn to icicles and snow somehow finds its way into the tiniest openings at your wrists and ankles.
Make sure to put on layers before you head out! Suit up in warm winter gear from head to toe, including a pair of boots designed for the snowy conditions, so you can guarantee the weather and temperature won’t slow you down.
4. Stretch it out
Most of us aren’t as spry as we used to be. That means demanding physical work like digging your vehicles out after a snowstorm can be risky if your body isn’t ready and could lead to injury.
Make sure you warm up those muscles ahead of time with so that you’ll get the job done safer and still have the energy you need to enjoy the better things winter has to offer.
5. Choose your timing wisely
Easy snow shoveling is all about perfect timing. Get started too early and you’ll be back out there in just a couple of hours doing it over again. Begin shoveling too late and you risk having to deal with snow that is much heavier than it was before—or, even worse, you now have a layer of ice that you have to chip off the top of your driveway.
If possible, get started as soon as you can after the final snowflakes have fallen. That way, the snow will be at its lightest and you’ll avoid having to deal with any ice.
6. Master your technique
Put those pre-shoveling stretches to good use by using a method that will help you avoid injury. Here are four important techniques to keep in mind while you’re out there:
- Push rather than carry — Whenever possible, use your shovel to push the snow off the area you’re clearing rather than picking the snow up and carrying it. This technique will save your energy and your back.
- Lift responsibly — When carrying the snow is your only option, make sure you’re lifting it up off the driveway with your legs rather than your back. That means using more of a squat to pick up the snow rather than bending at the waist and pulling up with your back. It may seem a little unnatural at first, but it could protect you from injury.
- Step into the throw — If you’re lifting snow and throwing it onto your yard, step forward while you’re throwing and use your momentum to toss the snow rather than twisting your upper body. This will help you avoid tweaking your back or causing other injuries.
- Keep your footing — Slip-and-falls are common during the winter months and you’re at a higher risk of it happening to you when you’re shoveling your driveway. Make sure you’re always conscious of your footing and the conditions of the surface you’re clearing. One way you can decrease your chances of falling is to maintain a wide stance while shoveling.
7. Take a load off
Snow shoveling is hard work so take a break (or three) while you’re doing it. For many of us, clearing the driveway is a chore we want to get out of the way quickly, so sometimes we work harder to get it done faster. What we should keep in mind is that it could actually slow the whole process down as fatigue sets in or, worst-case scenario, hastiness results in an accident or injury.
So, take a break and rejuvenate! Stop for a few minutes to breathe in the fresh winter air, talk to a neighbor or step inside to warm up. You’ll be happy you did.